The Implied Supervisor

By Graham Mort and Lee Horsley.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This is a practice-based paper, which will look at developments in Creative Writing PhD supervision at Lancaster University (UK) that have united aspects of face-to-face supervision with a newly designed virtual learning environment. The paper will examine some of the assumptions underlying actuality in learning and how they are challenged by the virtual learning environment and (in Iser's terms) the capacity of creating writing itself to imply authors and readers. The components of the distance-learning process - learning journals, creative work and tutorial reports - will be considered in the context of blended learning supervision. The dual nature of the tutorial report as a critical-literary text engaging with the creative work and contributing to the discourse around it will be central to the discussion. We will discuss research-as-practice in terms of action-research, the structure of the Creative Writing PhD, and the role of different forms and registers of writing in supervision; we will demonstrate the role of actual and virtual learning environments and how students and supervisors can modulate between them to create understanding.

Keywords: Creative Writing, Virtual Learning, e-Learning, Blended Learning, Postgraduate Supervision, PhD Research, Action-Research

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp.37-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.503KB).

Dr. Graham Mort

Senior Lecturer, Department of English & Creative Writing, Lancaster University, Lancs, UK

Graham Mort is a university lecturer and a published poet who has produced six full-length collections of work; he also writes short fiction and radio drama. He is currently director of postgraduate studies in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is a distance learning specialist. He designed and ran the British Council ‘Crossing Borders’ mentoring scheme for African writers (2001-2006), which engaged writers from the UK with writers from 8 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. He was the UK adviser and designer for the ‘Beyond Borders’ literature festival, held in Kampala in October 2005, which attracted writers and delegates from 17 Anglophone African countries across the continent. Graham was a co-applicant on a major AHRC-funded research project, ‘Moving Manchester: Mediating Marginalities’ which has recently been commissioned to catalogue and research the writings of migrant and diasporic communities in Greater Manchester since 1960. Graham’s most recent collection of poems is, ‘Visibility, New & Selected Poems' (Seren, 2007). See:

Dr. Lee Horsley

Senior Lecturer, Department of English & Creative Writing, Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancs, UK

Lee Horsley has been at the University of Lancaster since 1974 and in recent years has taught mainly twentieth-century British and American literature and two specialist crime courses. Her research interests have always focused in one way or another on literature and politics - ranging from 18th-century satire to the ways in which contemporary detective and crime novels can function as socio-political critiques (the books she has published since 1990 are: Political Fiction and the Historical Imagination; Fictions of Power in English Literature 1900-1950; The Noir Thriller; Twentieth-Century Crime Fiction). More recently she has specialised in eLearning, particularly in relation to creative writing pedagogy and postgraduate supervision (jointly supervising a number of Creative Writing PhD students; receiving an ESC grant for eLearning advocacy in 2006-07). This experience has led to her exploring the process of linking creative practice to critical reflection - a synthesis that has become increasingly central to the whole of Lancaster's Department of English & Creative Writing.


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